Poor in a rich world

Updated: 2011-08-14 09:06

(China Daily)

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Poor in a rich world

In Akobo, South Sudan, a malnourished boy is surrounded by flies at a hospital, 2010 file photo. [Photo Provided by Xinhua]

Ending extreme poverty has been embraced as a common task by the international community, but Xinhua photographers around the world find there is a long way to go.

The five famine regions of Somalia have focused new attention on the crisis of global poverty.

Based on the World Bank's poverty line (income of $1.25 per capita per day), about 12 million people worldwide live below the poverty line. Extreme poverty in Asia, Africa, Latin America and other developing areas has made hunger an acute problem, while in developed countries the disparity between rich and poor has increased crime rate and unraveled social stability.

At the 2000 UN Millennium Summit, world leaders from rich and poor countries committed themselves - at the highest political level - to a set of eight time-bound targets that, when achieved, would end extreme poverty worldwide by 2015.

Poor in a rich world

In a Pakistan settlement for victims of a flood, a boy bathes in a donor's plastic bucket, 2010 file photo. [Photo Provided by Xinhua]

"The world has never before seen so much prosperity," UN organizers say on the Millennium Goals website. "We might not need more than about $50 billion of additional aid per year to meet the goals. About $900 billion was invested in arms by governments in 2003 alone; and rich countries grant large support to their domestic agricultural producers, totaling $300 billion each year. Financially, in the grand scheme of things, we're talking about relatively small change."

While the developed countries push to honor aid commitments, there is still a big gap, and natural disasters can offset progress.

In the most critical area, East Africa is witnessing its worst drought in 60 years, and the United Nations says more than 12 million people need outside assistance. The arrival each day of 1,400 to 2,000 new Somali refugees to just one camp places a huge food, economic and environmental stress on eastern Kenya.

Meanwhile, Xinhua News Agency, Reuters and the UN Development Program last week jointly launched a campaign to send journalists to Africa and take pictures focused on poverty issues.

Photojournalists from Xinhua and Reuters are traveling to towns, slums and refugee camps in South Africa, Kenya and Senegal to capture "the most touching images," so as to arouse the attention of people across the world to fight against poverty, said Wang Yao, deputy editor-in-chief of Xinhua.

Since it opened on May 27, the contest has received about 5,000 entries. Outstanding pictures will be showcased on the contest's official website,

China Daily - Xinhua

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